Swedish Pirate Party Set To Win Seats In EU Elections 05/06/2009 by Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen for Intellectual Property Watch 6 Comments Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) COPENHAGEN – As a candidate for the European Parliament elections on Sunday, the Swedish Pirate Party has “good chances” of winning one, two or possibly even three mandates, it says, referring to Swedish opinion polls. The nontraditional party would then be the third largest, after the governing Conservatives (Moderatarna) and the Social Democratic Party, Christian Engström, the Pirate Party’s vice-president and top candidate for the European Union elections, told Intellectual Property Watch. He said the Pirate Party is averaging 6-8 percent support in the polls. He emphasised, however, that it all depends on the Swedish voter turnout, which he said is “very low.” It was 39 percent at the previous EU election in 2004. The Pirate Party has 20 candidates for the 7 June elections, in which the German Pirate Party is also participating, he said. Sweden will elect 18 Members of Parliament. The Swedish Pirate Party’s platform has three components: It wants to do away with the patent system, it wants to reform the copyright system and limit protection (“Today’s copyright terms are simply absurd. Nobody needs to make money 70 years after he is dead,” it says), and it wants to protect individual freedom from the “surveillance state.” If elected, Engström will start his work in Brussels by fighting the EU telecommunications reform package, which if adopted could mean that governments would be allowed to block internet access if they discover any form of illegal file sharing, he said in an interview this week. He will also focus on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (IPW, Enforcement, 22 April 2009), which he said is being discussed by the EU and the United States “behind the back of EU citizens.” He calls this process, which has become known because of leaked documents, a “democratic scandal.” When asked whether the Pirate Party has any non-IP agenda on issues such as health and education, Engström replies “no.” He said these issues have been around for long and other political parties do better in these areas than the Pirate Party, which has “nothing to add.” “But we [do] think we have a new and valuable perspective on intellectual property and the importance of the right to privacy,” Engström said. The Pirate Party does not directly have any programme related to IP and developing countries, but it says its aim of doing away with the patent system, especially on pharmaceutical products, “would save many, many lives.” Engström said the industry is “unbelievably immoral” when it does not allow developing countries that can afford to produce the medicines themselves do so. He also said that a reform is needed as more than 80 percent of European pharmaceutical companies’ income comes from the state. He said this is a waste of taxpayers’ money as the state gets little in return. Fuelled by Pirate Bay The Pirate Party finances its election campaign through small contributions, such as €10 per month from its 47,000 members, of whom the average age is 26-27 years. It is the third largest party in Sweden in terms of members and plans to run for office in the 2010 Swedish parliamentary elections. Engström said that among the many reasons why the Pirate Party has become so big in Sweden are: The FRA (National Defence Radio Establishment) law from 1 January, which allows the Swedish state to monitor all internet and telephone traffic that cross the Swedish border; the 1 April Swedish implementation of the EU IP Enforcement Directive; and the 17 April ruling against Pirate Bay, in which employees were given one year of jail and a fine for assisting the file-sharing in 33 cases (IPW, Access to Knowledge, 26 April 2009). Engström strongly criticised this ruling, but said Pirate Bay and the Pirate Party are two different initiatives. “The music industry is trying to get the court to impose a fine if The Pirate Bay continues to operate,” Anders Rydell, author of a book on The Pirate Bay, told Intellectual Property Watch. “They are even trying to get a similar fine for the internet operator of the site, but this has not yet been decided. It appears they are waiting for the conclusion of the investigation into an accusation that the judge was not objective because of his membership in several copyright organisations. This could mean that the trial has to be remade.” Rydell said that as the court case was unfolding, the Pirate Party grew from 10,000 to 40,000 members in “just a matter of days.” The ruling further increased the conflict between generations that the pirate issue to a large extent is reflecting, he said, adding that the case around the judge definitely did not ease the tension. Elections to the European Parliament will be held in the 27 EU member states between 4 and 7 June. Some 736 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will be elected to represent some 500,000,000 Europeans, making these the biggest trans-national elections in history, according to Wikipedia. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."Swedish Pirate Party Set To Win Seats In EU Elections" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.